This is partly a test run of how we’d all feel and react during a genuine existential risk. Metaculus currently has it as a 19% chance of spreading to billions of people, a disaster that would certainly result in many millions of deaths, probably tens of millions. Not even a catastrophic risk, of course, but this is what it feels like to be facing down a 1⁄5 chance of a major global disaster in the next year. It is an opportunity to understand on a gut level that, this is possible, yes, real things exist which can do this to the world. And it does happen.
It’s worth thinking that specific thought now because this particular epistemic situation, a 1⁄5 chance of a major catastrophe in the next year, will probably arise again over the coming decades. I can easily imagine staring down a similar probability of dangerously fast AGI takeoff, or a nuclear war, a few months in advance.
Millions of deaths worldwide would be kind of “meh” to be honest. In emerging economies like China and India it’s the price paid yearly (lung diseases due to air pollution) in return for faster economic growth. In first world countries it’s a bit more unusual, but even in the most endangered age group the risk is at worst (i.e. complete loss of containment like flu) still only on the same order of magnitude as cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
Overall, not great not terrible. I certainly wouldn’t classify it as a “major global disaster”.
So in India it doesn’t feel like we’re paying that price *yearly* because we’re also getting more food, more access to better water, healthcare etc for that faster economic growth which reduces the number of deaths?
This one doesn’t come with those benefits, I think we wouldn’t be “meh” about even thousands of deaths due to a new disease. :)
I’m totally against the coronavirus if that’s what you’re wondering about; didn’t think I’d need to signal that.
Eh? no. You didn’t need to signal that.
Edited to clarify: I parsed the “meh” in your original comment as referring to what the general population (in India or China or maybe the world at large) will think about ‘millions of deaths’, and not your personal opinion on the matter. I figured we were discussing larger societal reaction, because that will impact how the economy does, and (in my mind) make a disaster ‘major’, separate from the sheer number of deaths.
At no point did I think you were ‘for the virus’. Whatever that implies, I expect that to be something very few actual people will be?